WineCorp (was Re: Wine license change)

David Elliott dfe at
Wed Feb 13 19:48:09 CST 2002

On 2002.02.13 13:52 Ian Schmidt wrote:

> To put this back on topic, I don't see any immediate benefits from a LGPL
> license.  If we knew what the threat to Wine Jeremy hinted at was, it
> might
> make for a more informed discussion.  I also liked Gav's idea about
> WineCorp
> a lot as a compromise, and I'd love to see more dicussion of that and
> less
> licensing flaming.

Agreed.  In my private mail to Alexandre I mentioned that we need some 
sort of "Wine Foundation".  Apparently Gav has the same idea and at least 
one other person (you) seems to like it too.

Personally while I can't say if the LGPL would be absolutely wonderful for 
Wine I don't think it'd be horrible and thus I'll support whatever is 

The main problem with LGPL is that once we go there we can never go back.  
Well, we can if all the people who made LGPL contributions agree to a 
license change, but unlike the last license change where this was possible 
because there wasn't anybody (to my knowledge) attached to the old 
license, there may very well be contributors to an LGPL codebase who would 
NOT want to release under X11.

Thus what we really need is some entity that will always have an unlimited 
license to the complete wine codebase to do with it as it decides.  I 
question assigning copyrights away from myself and to anyone else, is 
there some reason why signing an unlimited use license wouldn't be 
acceptable (and thus developers would still retain their own copyright) or 
is that effectively how it works anyway?

Wine cannot stay X11 free-for-all forever.  Reminds me of one of Roger 
Ebert's columns about the movie "It's a Wonderfull Life".  Because the 
movie is now public domain, anyone can use the original print for whatever 
purpose.  This includes colorizing it and then selling the colorized 
version for a lot of cash (thanks Ted... yeah right).  The colorized 
version is a bastardization of the movie and is one of those cases where 
you almost wish that copyrights didn't expire. Especially considering that 
the director and the much of the cast were still alive to see this 
horrible, horrible thing.  Wine is very much in the same position here.  
While we are not quite public domain we are so close that any distinction 
is a moot point.

However, the X11 license has the great advantage that it is extremely 
flexible.  So flexible that anyone who wanted to could take the tree and 
release it under any other license.  If we were to switch the tree to LGPL 
we would loose this advantage and would essentially be locked into terms 
that will always be at least as restrictive as the LGPL.  If we were to 
set up some sort of Wine Foundation, or WineCorp as Gav calls it, then we 
could require contributors to license their code to WineCorp with 
unlimited rights knowing that WineCorp is established to act in the best 
interest of the Wine project.  Perhaps a board could vote on whether to 
allow companies like TransGaming or Lindows to make a binary release and 
perhaps they could set conditions to the contracts.  In order to get these 
types of licenses the companies would have to at least fork over some cash 
which would be used to cover the costs of running WineCorp.  I would 
suggest that WineCorp be legally incorporated as a non-profit organization.

Looking at some of the more popular BSD-type licensed projects, many of 
them have this sort of non-profit set-up.  Apache would be the one that 
springs to mind immediately, I'm sure there are others.

Anyway, I think I have written enough for now.  I am really interested in 
discussing this, and I hope that by writing this I will have sparked some 
sort of discussion among the rest of the developers.  I'm hoping the 
reason Gav didn't get very much response is more because everyone was 
waiting for the next guy to respond and not because no-one would be 


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